Friends and family of Rob Kabeary will ride the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic on Saturday in memory of the founder and co-owner of Bread bakery in Durango. Kabeary died suddenly in December from a stroke.
He was a well-known member of the community who loved cycling and financially supported it in town, said Sarah Tescher, who organized the memorial ride.
“Rob was a big part of a lot of people’s lives,” she said.
Kabeary was a dedicated cyclist and triathlete in his 20s and 30s, she said. When he bought Bread 20 years ago he cycled less, but he would still ride in the Animas Valley with his friends, she said.
She expects the ride will be healing for the 20-some cyclists because making it to Silverton is a huge hurdle, much like the challenges faced by the bereaved, she said. Even talking about the deceased can be tough, she said.
The riders plan to wear customized T-shirts.
Seven of the riders are also raising money for The Grief Center of Southwest Colorado.
The nonprofit provides services to anyone who has lost a loved one, regardless of the manner of death or how much time has passed since the death occurred.
“When people experience loss, it’s pretty easy for them to hole-up and feel really lonely in that grief,” Tescher said.
The Grief Center’s services are offered on a sliding-scale fee. The affordable services are key in a region where many people struggle financially because of high housing costs, Tescher said.
Counselors from the center also visit schools, businesses and organizations, including Durango School District 9-R, when a death has occurred. The nonprofit expanded into Cortez and Silverton schools in the last year to help serve staff and students, said Judy Austin, director of the nonprofit.
In Cortez, the center’s therapist has supported students who lost peers to suicide.
Providing grief support in schools helps prevent suicides because students who have lost a friend to suicide are at a higher risk for dying by suicide themselves, Austin said.
In Silverton, the center’s grief services are needed to help those struggling with the loss of parents, she said. The center’s staff have also supported teachers who are working with grieving students, she said.
La Plata Youth Services, San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services and San Juan Basin Public Health have supported the center’s expansion.
A memorial ride during last year’s Iron Horse for Tricia Shadell, a Durango mountain bike coach, who died by suicide in 2017, also raised funds for the Grief Center. The event raised $11,000 for the center, making it the center’s single largest fundraiser of the year.
Durangoan Jeanne Pastore rode last year for Shadell and plans to ride this year for Kabeary. Kabeary had a huge smile and was a constant supporter of the mountain bike and Nordic ski teams her children trained with, she said.
“Rob was always beyond generous,” she said.
To donate, visit www.fundrazr.com/rideforrob. Checks can be made to The Grief Center of Southwest Colorado and sent to 2243 North Main Ave., Suite 4F, Durango, CO, 81301.